27-year-old vintage buyer Ariel Maroko started her online shop, Select LA, in 2018, but was introduced to thrifting as a child. “I was raised by a single mom who was very politically active,” she explains. “Fast-fashion labels were completely off the table.” Ariel started shopping secondhand in high school as a “creative escape” from her one-stoplight town in Michigan, and then selling her curated finds from her apartment during college. For Select LA (and clients such as Reformation), she sources vintage accessories — such as beaded bags from the 60s and chain-link purses from the 70s — from thrift stores and flea markets around Los Angeles. “It’s such a special feeling when you sift through racks and racks and find something that speaks to you,” she explains, adding that she also prefers thrifting because it’s the more sustainable, circular choice (you can read more about cultivating a more mindful closet here). Below, in her own words, are her five favorite resources for vintage designer, denim and dresses in L.A.
Council Thrift Shops
Near and dear to my heart are the council thrift shops located throughout Los Angeles (and the valley if you’re up for the drive). Arguably a step above your average thrift shop, Council is filled with vintage designer clothing and accessories, jewelry, furniture, housewares and art. I’ve found everything from a vintage Moschino Cheap & Chic sweater for $30 to Miu Miu ballet flats for $40. The locations on the west side are my personal favorite.
Pasadena City College Flea Market
Not technically “Los Angeles” but definitely worth a mention. The PCC flea market is great for a multitude of reasons — it’s less crowded than other markets, admission is free and parking is easy. With over 400 vendors sprawled across the campus, you’re bound to leave with something unexpected. This is one of my favorite markets for vintage design and fashion magazines, mid-century furniture, denim and accessories. Definitely worth the dig.
One of the more price friendly secondhand shops for vintage designer and non-designer pieces is an unassuming shop nestled between a French bistro and a floral stand in the neighborhood of Los Feliz. Squaresville is one of those places you’ll want to visit during the week when crowds are at bay and you can browse at ease. Here you’ll find racks of vintage designer, denim and dresses spanning the 50s to the 00s, and a wide range of perfectly worn-in tees and sweatshirts. Squaresville is also a great place to sell your retired vintage for cash or trade.
Valley Value Center
This is a true thrift store and not at all for the faint of heart. It’s one of those places where you have to be in the right state of mind or you will undoubtedly question your sanity 15 minutes in. Despite this forewarning, it can definitely be worth the madness. I’ve found vintage Courrèges, Stuart Weitzman, DVF, Betsey Johnson and a lot of other great non-designer vintage pieces here. Not to mention they have a great selection of vintage textiles. Just go early, use the bathroom beforehand and bring cash.
Again, not technically “Los Angeles,” but to be fair, a lot of the best vintage is outside of the city. This is a new-ish addition to Fair Oaks Ave in Pasadena. The Huntington Collection has a nice mix of clothing, accessories, housewares, art, and a huge annex filled with furniture. I’ve found vintage Chanel pumps, St. John suits, silk scarves, and the cutest assortment of vintage tennis skirts.